Bullying

You will never reach higher ground if you are always putting others down.

Jeffrey Benjamin

Have you seen someone get picked on for no reason? Was that person getting picked on everyday? Have you ever been made fun of? Were you getting hateful text messages or seeing people say mean things to you on your social media accounts? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then what you were seeing or experiencing were two different kinds of bullying. If your reading this, please know that your not alone when it comes to being bullied. There are other teenagers and adults that experience it and unfortunately some get it far worse than you do.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is when someone or a group of people use force and coercion to intimidate, abuse, or threaten other people. This kind of behavior is toxic to the victims of bullying. The victims are hurt physically, mentally, and emotionally. Verbal abuse is another kind of bullying that happens all the time. The use of profanity and yelling at someone can be considered verbal abuse. The theme of individual bullying is where one person is trying to gain power over the other person and assert to that person and others. Bullies adapt to this kind of behavior which can become a habit to where they bully someone everyday. Intentionally being left out of something and ignored is another kind of bullying. It can make us think that we are stupid and feel inferior. I personally have experienced this. In some settings, you’ll have the head bully and others that serve as a second in command or as lieutenants. Bullying can happen anywhere. You can get bullied in places like school, a park, where you work, or online.

Cyber Bullying

With technology on the rise over the past two decades, cyber bullying and cyber harassment are different kinds of bullying that have come out of the woodwork. These forms of bullying is through various kinds of electronics. Cyber bullying can also be described as online bullying. Cyber bullying has unfortunately become a more common type of bullying in the past two decades. This kind of bullying consists of sending, sharing, and posting hateful, negative, false, and hurtful messages to other people via online through emails, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and devices like cell phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, apps, and computers. This can include sharing personal and private information to other people with the intent to cause harm, humiliation and embarrassment to someone else or a group of people.

Here are some ways to prevent and avoid the different kinds of bullying out there:

1. Be Aware of What You and Your Children are Doing Online

This can be easier said than done I know. The more digital platforms your child uses, the more opportunities and risks there are for them to get bullied. Parents should take notice if a child has increased or decreased their device use. If your child or yourself is expressing more emotions as to what is happening on a device, this could be another sign of bullying. Also if you or your child is loosing interest in things you enjoy, maybe hiding devices, closing social media accounts, becoming more depressed and withdrawn from people this can be another sign of bullying.

2. Speak Up

If you are being bullied, the best thing you could do is speak up about it. Tell a parent, a friend, a teacher, a sibling, someone that you can confide in. Don’t just let it keep happening thinking it will go away on its own. There are times where it will not go away on its own; the bullies will continue bullying you if they know it’s affecting you. When it comes to cyber bullying, some social media platforms have a place where you can report hateful and offensive content. The individuals who don’t speak up about bullying, can wind up hurting themselves thinking they can relieve themselves of the pain, fall victim to depression, and sometimes take their own life.

3. Surround Yourself With Support

A strong support system can go a long way. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about having a strong support system helping you through tough times. When it comes to dealing with bullies, You need those who are not going to intimidate, not cause you harm, not intentionally go out of their way to make you feel bad and themselves good, abuse you, and spread false rumors about you. Your support system will help you through these tough times and can help you get out of them. They can reassure you that you stay true to who you are and not believe any lies about you. Let these people be a positive influence in your life.

4. Keep a Record of What Happens

It can be best to write down the things that are said and done to you when it comes to bullying. Cyber bullying for example, it’s helpful if you can take screenshots of harmful posts and mean content that is said to you. Those mean text messages you get, save those. Try to remember word for word what mean thing is said to you by a bully. I know you may be thinking, the bully would just deny everything here she said. You’re right that can happen, but it doesn’t happen all the time. If possible surround yourself with friends or place yourself in a public area. This way if you are being bullied, it won’t just be your word alone, other people will have witnessed the bullying as well and can speak up in your favor.

5. Walk Away and Stay Calm

The one thing you can do when dealing with a bully is to simply walk away and stay calm. You may not know this, but bullies get their so-called power from the hurtful reactions of the people they’re bullying. If you walk away from them, there’s no power to be gained. Now they may also try to keep intimidating you, this is because they’re trying to get some kind of rise and reaction out of you. If you remain calm about what they’re saying and doing, they’re not getting anything from you because you’re not reacting to them. You can deny a bully from draining your power. If a bully isn’t getting anything from you, they will move on thinking you’re not worth their time.

Final Thoughts and Sum Up

Bullying is a sad thing that happens to people. It can result in painful consequences. The key thing to remember is there is help. Seeking counseling, doing things you love, surrounding yourself with people who care about you, and speaking up about it really helps. Walking away from the situation as I mentioned helps, however if the bullies still won’t leave you alone, talk to a teacher, principal, your supervisor, parents and let them know what is going on so that something can be done about it. If you have to get the police involved, get them involved. Seems a bit extreme, but there’s only so much a person can tolerate and take before they may end up hurting themselves or taking their own life. If you see someone getting bullied, try to comfort that person. Afterwards support them and report the bullying. Help them speak up and be their voice. It would be nice to have that if you were in their shoes.

What is Grief? What Does It Do To Us?

Ever experience a very deep sadness about something? Was it because a pet or someone in your life passed away? Did you experience a variety of emotions that affected your mood? You may have experienced fatigue to the point where you couldn’t get out of bed, eat, or do anything. What you were dealing or dealt with is grief. I’ve dealt with it quite a few of times in my life. So your not alone when it comes to experiencing grief.

What is Grief?

Grief is how we respond when we have experienced the loss of someone that we had a bond and affection for. Everyone experiences grief differently. The duration can be long or short; it all depends on the person. You can experience numbness, shock, sadness, fear, guilt, isolation, even anger. All these things can happen all at once and one can influence the other. For example, if you hear that someone passed away and you weren’t expecting it, you may experience an initial shock and you may stay in that state for an unknown period of time before the sadness takes place. Grief can take a huge toll on you. The things that are easy to do like brushing your teeth wind up being hard to do. Fatigue is one thing that is common for people to experience. Your mind is trying to process the loss you have experienced which takes up energy. If you’re someone who is able to wake up, go to school or go to work, come home, and do things in the afternoon till you go to sleep, you may question why you’re having a hard time doing those things. All of a sudden you only have enough energy to go to school or work and when you come home you just crash and sleep all afternoon. You may even experience aches pains all over your body, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. Well your body is going through the stages of grief. Grief can come in waves, some waves are tougher than others.

The Stages of Grief

There are five main stages of grief. Denial, acceptance, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Here is some information on the five stages.

When it comes to denial, you just don’t accept what has happened. You don’t want to believe that person is gone. You go to sometimes great lengths to avoid the truth. You may be in a state of shock and confusion. It’s one thing to have someone pass away and you knew it was going to happen, but it’s another thing when someone passes away without any kind of warning. Denial has a way of helping you to pace your feelings when it comes to grief.

After the denial has passed, that’s when the anger can set in. For example, if someone passed away in a motorcycle accident because they we’re paying attention to the road, you may get angry at them because you believe they should have been more careful. You get angry at the fact that you experienced something tragic. When you try to speak with someone or socialize with others, you may snap at them over small things because you’re on edge.

Bargaining is where you struggle to find any kind of meaning to your recent loss. The one thing you ask yourself over and over is “If only something”. You think what if they got medical attention sooner? If only I had been there, it wouldn’t to have happened. We may even bargain with God to postpone the coming pain.

Then comes the depression. The first kind of depression we get is sadness and regret. We can become worried about the cost of a funeral. The regret part is the idea that we didn’t spend enough time with the person we lost. The second kind is where we prepare to separate ourselves from the person we lost and say goodbye.

Lastly there is the acceptance part. We have to allow the grief to take place. If we need to cry, then we need to allow ourselves to cry. We can begin to start coping with the loss. In some way shape or form, we have to be able to say goodbye in order to move on which can take time. The thing is there is no telling how long it can take because as I mentioned everyone grieves differently.

There there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but how to cope with it is another thing. Here are some healthy ways to help cope with grief:

1. Turn to Your Family and Friends

Going going through any kind of grief can take a toll on you mentally physically and emotionally. Having having your family and friends to go through it with is very helpful. You’re able to comfort one another with hugs, comforting words, have a shoulder to cry on, and having that face to face interaction is very helpful. They can help you with funeral arrangements or just hang out with you. They can be there for you if you need anything, just remember to ask.

2. Join a Support Group

Having a support system of friends and family is a great thing. It can also helpful to associate yourself with others who have experienced the same thing. Finding a support group and talking with others who have experienced the loss of a loved one can be a comforting and educational experience. You can look up support groups in your area online, talk with friends and family, maybe the funeral home, or the hospital can point you in the right direction.

3. Talk to a Counselor or a Therapist

If you’re having trouble finding a support group or someone who understands you, seek out a therapist therapist or grief counselor. They can help you work through the intense and maybe complicated emotions that grief can bring you. There are obstacles and rough waves that they can help you better cope with.

4. Remember to Eat

Seems like this would be an unusual tip, but grief can be very crippling and cause a great deal of fatigue. Personally I found it tough to eat, but I had to remember that my body needs food for energy. If you don’t feel like cooking, see if you have something small to munch on. If you got some fruits or vegetables, snack on them. Warm up some popcorn, munch on crackers. You can’t go wrong with warming something up from a can or the freezer. Fast food can be tempting; if you get it, that’s ok. Remember you want to get something in your body, you can stop eating it later.

5. Do Something Fun

The sadness and depression can be tough to deal with. One thing to remember is that the grief of losing someone you cared about is something that you truly never get over. In time you learn to keep it in check. What helps with that is to engage and activities that you find joy in. After you have accepted the loss of someone, it can be tough to get back into the things that bring you joy. If you aren’t ready to go out to a huge party with friends or an amusement park, for example, that’s ok. Stay in, watch your favorite movie, listen to your favorite music. Play games with friends online or in person. Watch your favorite TV show even if it’s reruns. If you can find something to help you laugh, go for it; laughter is the best medicine.

Final Thoughts and Sum Up

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again grief is handled differently by every single person. There is no right or wrong way. Don’t suppress it, let it out, it will help you to move forward. If you are religious or spiritual take comfort in your faith. The best thing to remember is to take care of yourself. You have others that care about you as well as your well-being.

Hurt by Someone You Cared About? Yeah I Know the Feeling

Our parents are the first people who care for us when we are born. As we grow up we start to care for other people. Some of those people become friends. At some point we meet someone who we really care about and sometimes that develops into a romantic relationship which can turn into a marriage. At any point, these people we care for can hurt us. They hurt us because maybe we hurt them first, they hurt us because they misunderstood something or took something the wrong way, but they can hurt us for no reason. Whatever the reason or no reason, the feeling of being hurt by them can stick with us and it doesn’t feel good.

We all have feelings that can be hurt. Our friends, relatives, siblings, parents, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, boss, landlord, even teachers can all hurt our feelings. Let’s be real, none of us like to have our feelings hurt by anyone. If we don’t like to have our feelings hurt, we shouldn’t hurt others peoples feelings. When it comes to the people we care about and have more of a connection with, our feelings can take a bigger hit if these people hurt us. These people are the ones we have invested more time in and let them in on personal information about us. As we get to know them, their opinions about us matter more. Their overall opinions on anything become more important to us. Were willing to listen to what they have to say, even if it’s something we don’t 100% agree with.

When we get hurt by someone, it can take time for us to get over it. The more we cared about the other person, the worse the pain will feel. I can speak from experience from the past and from a few months ago. Your not alone when it comes to being hurt by someone you really cared about. The pain can cause us to doubt ourselves. We can begin to think we can’t do anything, we screw up everything we do, and we don’t deserve to have good people in our lives. The feeling of being hurt can get to a point where we start questioning the people we are friends with, family members, and have strong connections with. Another thing that can happen is that we can go into self preservation mode. We put up walls and keep people at arms length. We may even isolate ourselves from the world and cheat ourselves out of the things that we enjoy doing. I have found that one of the reasons we do these things is because we don’t want to get hurt again. So our minds sometimes can into survival mode (our minds put out energy into making sure we stay sane) because it interpreted the feeling of being hurt as an attack on our well being.

Here are some ways to help you get over the hurt and to help you move forward:

1. Don’t Seek Revenge

One of the things we may want to do after we have gotten hurt by someone is to hurt them back. The feeling of wanting to do it feels good and you believe that you’ll feel even better after you get back at the other person. Don’t let the anger get the best of you. Be the bigger person and accept what has happened. You can’t go back and change it, its already happened. Your best bet is to move forward. If you get back and hurt the other person, you’ll feel good briefly, but then the guilt and remorse can come in and you’ll feel worse and than what you were.

2. Seek Emotional Support

I mentioned that it may be hard to be around others because you don’t want to get hurt by anyone else, but there are those specific people who you know will be there for you in your time of need no matter what. You know these people will be there for you for comfort. Are these people your parents? A trusted relative? A friend who’s like a brother or sister to you? A childhood friend? Only you know. Seek them out and talk to them, even if you just need to vent.

3. Forgive the Person

One of the hardest things to do is to forgive people especially those who have hurt us. Forgiveness helps us to move forward and not develop and hold grudges towards other people. As tough as it is, we have to forgive the person or people who hurt us. Forgiveness is about not letting the feeling of being hurt control you. You may not get an apology from the other person. If you do, great. If you don’t get an apology, one don’t let that make you feel inferior or that your not worth an apology. Second not getting that apology can tell you about who that other person really is.

4. Do Things You Find Enjoyable

You sometimes need time to process the hurt. I believe that your mind and maybe your subconscious is at work processing the hurt. While it does that, it doesn’t help to dwell on it. Instead do something you like to do. Get immersed in something that you have so much fun doing that you don’t even get a chance to think about the hurt your feeling. This a great way to distract yourself for the time being.

5. Distance Yourself

You may need to distance yourself from this person or people in order to move on. Delete them on social media, get rid of their phone number, get rid of photos, trinkets, or other reminders of that person if the hurt is real bad, change shifts so that your not working with them, and in some extreme cases change classes you have with them, change jobs, if your in on a team with them, leave the team if it hurts you way too much to be around them.

Be grateful for the people you do have in your life. These people have been kind to you, given you compliments, and helped you. It’s also important to bring yourself back to the present. When we have been hurt, we tend to live in the past and relive the hurt over and over maybe hoping for a different outcome. One of the things we have to do is let the negative emotions flow. It’s ok to be sad, so we have to allow ourselves to feel those negative emotions so we can move on. We just can’t dwell on them. Take care of yourself above all else. Be patient and gentle with yourself.

Habits: The Good and the Not so Good

In my last post, I talked about how having a routine can be good for you and how it isn’t good for you. I also mentioned that rituals are more meaningful and provide significant benefits to your life. When you develop a routine, you have habits that are driving you to make one. The habits can be good ones, but they can also be bad ones.

Habits are behaviors that we repeatedly do in our lives. They can be so ingrained in what we do that we don’t always notice that we do them. They can work on a subconscious level which can be another way of saying that they are second nature to us. As we grow up, we learn to do things with help from our parents, teachers, friends, even strangers directly and indirectly. We also learn things by doing them on our own. As time goes on, we continue to repeat these behaviors and then they become habits.

From an early age, we are taught things that will help us to develop good habits. Throughout your life, there will be people who are likely to influence you to do the right thing and make good choices. Good habits can be very helpful and enriching to our lives. On tough days, they give us the extra push we need to get something done. Good habits help us to stay healthy both in our mind, body, and soul. Good habits can include being nice to our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, eating healthy, exercising, helping others, getting a good sleep, reading, etc.

As we grow up, people can have a bad influence on us. Like routines, you unfortunately can develop bad habits. You can develop bad habits from being around the wrong people who give you bad advice and are a bad influence. You may see people doing something they shouldn’t, like breaking into someones car, but they talk you into doing it with them. Then your hanging out with them and doing other things you shouldn’t. You may have developed a bad habit of biting your fingernails because you saw others doing it, you taught yourself to do it, or it’s how you deal with anxiety. Chewing on your pen, pencil, lying to people, or picking your nose are a few examples. If you have developed a bad habit that is harming you and or other people, then I would look into eliminating that because as time goes on, things can get worse.

If you have developed good habits that benefit your life and your happy, stick with them. They will enrich and bless your life in different ways right now and as you get older. If you have some bad habits let me tell you it’s not the end of the world. Habits can be changed and eliminated, they are not set in stone. Your not the only person in this world who has bad habits and the bad habits you do have, a lot of other people have them as well.

If you have any bad habits that you are looking to stop, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Remind Yourself Why You Want To Stop It

Having a bad habit can be hard to quit especially if you have been doing it for an extended period of time. You are likely to encounter days when it’s tougher than others and you may fall off the wagon and relapse back into your old ways. During those tough times, remind yourself why you wanted to stop this bad habit in the first place. Are you quitting it to improve your health, boost your self-esteem, improve a friendship/relationship, or eliminates stress? Whatever the reason or reasons for quitting the bad habit you have, remember them, they will help you get through those tough days. Remind yourself how much better your life will be without that bad habit or habits.

2. Be Patient With Yourself

Some bad habits can be easy to quit by going cold turkey, however not all of them are. As I mentioned, bad habits that have been apart of your life for a long time, may not be able to go cold turkey on. Sometimes they may take time to quit completely. You can’t rush the process. Remember these bad habits have become a part of your routine and your life. There will be an adjustment phase that you will go through where you may feel uncomfortable and that’s fine. Change can be good, but it can also be uncomfortable. If you try to rush the process, there is a chance where the temptation to fall back into your old ways may get the better of you because you aren’t used to that bad habit being out of your life. Those tough days will challenge you, but overall be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged and give up.

3. Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One

Another incentive you can use is substitution. Get rid of bad habit and replace it with a good one. Removing a bad habit can sometimes leave an emptiness in your life and you may feel weird about it and want to fill it up. For example, say you quit smoking, a replacement for that can be mediation. Bring something new into your life and say goodbye to the bad one.

4. Get a Support System

Getting rid of a bad habit can be tough by yourself. As I mentioned in a previous post, a support system can help you with various things. Have someone you trust hold you accountable for your actions. If you begin to relapse, your support system can help you get back on track. You can also be a support system for that other person as well. Team up with someone and you both hold each other accountable while you get rid of your bad habits.

5. Celebrate the Small Achievements

Kicking a bad habit as I said can be a process and can take time, don’t wait till the journey is over to celebrate. During this journey as you wean yourself off this bad habit or habits, you will have opportunities to celebrate the small wins. If you bite your fingernails 7 times a day and you manage to cut yourself down to 6 times a day, celebrate that. These small achievements will provide the energy to keep you motivated on eliminating bad habits.

Now if you want to create good habits because you want to make your life better or need good ones to replace the bad ones, here are some ways that can help you:

1. Start Small and be Realistic

It’s great that you want to make a change in your life, but start with something small that won’t take long to accomplish. You may feel tempted to make a big change, but don’t bite off more than you can chew and relapse or get discouraged.

2. Have a Clear Intention

Creating a good habit is great if your intention is clear. For example, if you want to cut junk food out of your life and exercise more, ask yourself what kind of exercises do you want to do? How many of them do want to do per session? How many days a week do you plan on exercising? Having answers to questions like these can help you to not bite off more than you chew and be realistic in the change you want to make in your life.

3. Invest in Your Habit

We you develop a good habit, stick with it and get excited about it. Put your energy and focus into it. It can prevent you from developing bad habits and going back to old ones. If it’s enriching your life and not harming yourself and others, then your good.

We develop good habits in our life that make our lives great. Yes we develop bad habits as well, there is no avoiding it, but that’s ok because were human and humans are not perfect. The environment we grow up in and spend our time in has an influence on what habits we develop. We just have to make smart choices and recognize what and who in our lives is helping us thrive and live and who and what is hindering our growth.